A man charged with setting his wife on fire at a rural Waikato roadside before fleeing for Fiji with his son will plead not guilty to her murder.

Diwesh Kumar Sharma, 29, appeared in the Hamilton District Court this morning where he faced a charge of murdering his wife Ranjeeta.

The 28-year-old Mrs Sharma was still alive when her husband is alleged to have poured an accelerant over her and set her on fire on a rural road west of Huntly in January.

Sharma left for Fiji the day after her body was found, taking the couple's 4-year-old son but was found soon after by Fiji police and escorted back to New Zealand by detectives from Hamilton.

Sharma's lawyer, Roger Laybourn, said his client had been in the Henry Bennett centre, a Waikato mental health facility, but was yesterday taken back into custody.

Mr Laybourn said Sharma had undergone a psychiatric assessment and as a result was fit to plead.

"My client intends to plead not guilty," he told reporters outside court.

Sharma will face three other matters that have been transferred to the Manukau District Court where they will be defended on May 19.

The charges include an unrelated charge of assault with a blunt instrument, a breach of supervision order and an application to cancel a sentence of supervision.

A post committal conference for the murder charge is to be held on May 6 at Hamilton District Court